Tag Archives: Edible Fungi

Dark Honey

At last I have found something really exciting.

I have dragged Fizz up to look  at some old Sweet Chestnut coppice and she isn’t over excited because we have to walk on the road and there isn’t any playing ball as we go.

It is okay once we reach the wood.

CoppiceThe floor is thick with the Sweet Chestnut leaves. These leaves contain toxins that inhibit the growth of other plants but some things do well here and we will have a look at them when we return tomorrow.

FizzThis is what I have found.

Dark Honey FungusArmillaria ostoyae. It is the same Honey Fungus that used to grow in woodland that I owned some years ago.

I wrote a post about it recently About Honey Monsters using pictures that I had taken years ago. I am excited to have the opportunity to photograph it again and that is why we are going back for another look tomorrow.

When I saw it today I had a good idea what it was but I couldn’t get proper confirmation until I got home, it has been a few years since I found one of these. There are some key identification features that I still want to photograph and we could eat it.

I probably won’t eat it just because I like to see it on the tree but I will try a little bit just to see if I have a reaction and then I can eat it next time. You should always try a little bit first if you haven’t eaten a species before.

Here are some of the pictures that I took today.

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey FungusIt’s a tree. Somebody tell him it’s a tree, we’ve got things to play.

Dark  Honey FungusSensing that my companion was  somewhat less enthusiastic about mushrooms than I was, I dragged her off to a field for some playtime.

We are at the top of he hills now and the fields are dry, close cropped and full of sunshine.

Happiness is round and yellow.


“The process by which a substance absorbs moisture from the atmosphere until it dissolves in the absorbed water and forms a solution” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Go on then, deliquesce, you know that you want to.

Glistening Ink Cap

This is a post about the Glistening Ink Cap, Coprinellus micaceus.

I have two very interesting things to show and tell you about the Glistening Ink Cap.

It Glistens..

Glistening Ink Cap…and it is an Ink Cap.

Glistening Ink CapSo starting with the glistening. This mushroom is covered in tiny reflective beads that give it’s name.

Glistening Ink CapThey are the remnants of a veil that once covered and protected the young mushroom. As the mushroom grows the veil breaks up leaving little reflective particles..

Glistening Ink CapI have an excellent book in front of me, “Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Europe” by Roger Phillips and he describes this veil as white and powdery.

Wikiwotsit says it is, ” a fine layer of reflective mica-like cells.”

I can only say, “this is what it looks like.”

Glistening Ink Cap

Glistening Ink Cap

Glistening Ink CapI have got some absolutely tiny little specimens in front of me and none of them show a complete and unbroken veil. I am just assuming that it is a veil for the purpose of protection because that is the only reason that I know for a mushroom to have a veil. (and some books do say that is what it is)

So that is the Glistening, now lets get on to the deliquescence.

Another name for this phenomenon is autodigestion. I don’t like to think that this mushroom eats itself, I think that it deliquescifies (Why is that word underlined in red?) but then I am a romantic.

The young caps start of with white gills.

Glistening Ink Cap

Glistening Ink CapAs the mushroom ages they darken.

Glistening Ink Cap

Glistening Ink Cap

Glistening Ink CapIn death the gills change to a black liquid and it is almost as if the caps were full of ink. 🙂

Glistening Ink CapIt does get all over you if you play with them at this stage.

The Glistening Ink Cap is edible. You have to get to them before they start to deliquesce and cooking stops that process.

Your window of opportunity is fairly narrow.

Yesterday at 5 pm.
Glistening Ink Cap

Today 10 am.Glistening Ink CapThey would have been good yesterday.

This Ink Cap is saprobic, it feeds on decaying wood. Sometimes that decaying wood is buried underground and it appears to spring from  the grass.

That is my post about the interesting Glistening Ink Cap.

Glistening Ink Cap


Tales from the Wood (The Stinkhorn)

There is a bit of a storm blowing in at the moment. It has got a bit crazy and prompted a quick look at the BBC weather forecast. I see that “extreme rain” is forecast on my head in the next couple of hours.

So settle down and I will tell you a story instead…

Nature has so many different and wonderful ways of reproducing a species. Sometimes she can be very imaginative. Such is the case with today’s subject,

Phallus impudicus, the Stinkhorn Fungus.

StinkhornNow even if you only got a B in Latin you can probably figure out the meaning of the name Phallus impudicus and a fungus that looks like this has obviously attracted quite a few common names. I don’t think that it is necessary to repeat them here, this is a serious nature observation.

I do feel a little bit sorry for this fungi because of all the means of reproduction that are available this seems to be one of the least rewarding and maybe Mother Nature was in a bit of a mood when she came up with this idea.

The spores that will ensure the continuation of this species are contained in the green slime that covers the cap of the fungus. That slime is known as the “Gleba”. It stinks of rotting flesh. Flies are drawn to the smell and quickly strip the gleba away. The gleba not only smells disgusting but it gives the flies diarrhoea thus ensuring that the spores fall locally in an area that is suitable for them to grow.

This is a Witch’s Egg. That is the only name that I have ever known for it but witches don’t come out of these, Stinkhorns do. This is an immature Stinkhorn Fungi.

Witch's EggWhen I found this I was quite excited, I already knew quite a bit about Stinkhorns. When they burst out of the egg they grow very quickly, they have been recorded growing six inches in an hour I was determined to video and photograph this event.

I found it on a Friday morning. I was down for a three day camp in the woods. I watched my mushroom very carefully…. for three days. Eventually on Sunday afternoon I had to give it up. It hadn’t done a thing and I went home very disappointed.

I went back to the wood the following Saturday and it was still there, so I resumed my watch. I slept in the wood that night and when I went to check it in the morning it had grown and I had missed it. By the time that I arrived on the scene it was already fully grown and half devoured and I could only watch the last part of the act.

StinkhornI had to switch to flash to record what happened next, it was just too dark in the wood for my camera of the time.

StinkhornThe delicious gleba drove the flies into a frenzy




StinkhornIt only took them about an hour to finish the whole thing.

So lessons learnt. If you ever find a Stinkhorn in the woods in good condition take lots of photographs, they really don’t stay in that condition for very long, the flies find them and strip them very quickly. If you find a Witch’s Egg you will need lots of sandwiches and a flask and you have to watch it very carefully. They are very tricky things.

Final bit of information, the Stinkhorn is edible and consumed with relish in France and Germany. I don’t actually fancy this one myself.